BT's 10 Bold 2010-11 NHL Predictions: The Calgary Flames

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BT's 10 Bold 2010-11 NHL Predictions: The Calgary Flames
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
The Flames will be looking to skate their way back into the post-season after missing out in 2009-10.

Alright, so based on some prior confusion, I suppose we need a few ground rules, or at least outline a few things:

1) The stretch is just that—a stretch. It's not a real prediction folks, so just calm down. Also, Armageddon was not a biopic nor some sort of immediate preview of what's happening to the Earth, and the only world-changing thing to happen in 2012 might be (hopefully) a Canadian team winning the Stanley Cup.

2) They're bold and not so bold predictions. The title limit just doesn't allow for that. So yes, some are a little vanilla, mundane, cool-headed, or otherwise. This still doesn't make "Duh" a coherent response to one.

3) If you want to argue a point that's fine. But if there's a link included, click it. It's there for a reason.

4) Bill Clinton's hair IS real and he did not have sexual...well you know.

Anyhow, now on to BT's Bold (and not so bold) Predictions for the Calgary Flames.

 

1) If Henrik Karlsson Is with the Team in October, He Wins 10 Games; Otherwise He Makes It By January

The biggest advantages Karlsson has over Leland Irving and Matt Keetley are experience and maturity. While he wasn't playing North American big-league hockey, the 26 year old has gained plenty of experience over in Sweden and could transition quickly as most mature European goalies have. If Karlsson posts numbers similar to Jonas Hiller's first NHL season, it could mean the first time in five seasons Kiprusoff plays in fewer than 70 games.

 

2) After Two Years Away from It, Iginla Lives in 40-Goal Territory Again

His last two 40+ goal seasons have been split up by two 30-goal seasons. After two seasons of 30, Iginla will need to have that kind of an impact once again if Calgary is expected to go back to the playoffs. 

 

3) Mikael Backlund Scores 50 Points

Backlund's demotion at the beginning of last year has him motivated to do everything he can to start the year in the NHL, and with his talent there's no doubt he can produce. If he centres Iginla and Rene Bourque again, there isn't any reason why he shouldn't at least sniff this plateau. 

 

4) Jay Bouwmeester Figures Out Calgary and Rebounds with 12 Goals

There's struggling in a new city, and then there's whatever Jay Bouwmeester did. A player who had scored at least 12 goals in each of the past three seasons scored three and disappointed the Calgary faithful excited to have a big three of J-Bo, Dion Phaneuf, and Robyn Regehr. With Phaneuf gone, Bouwmeester has the chance to be the man offensively after getting his feet wet in a market that's hockey-mad. 

 

5) Ian White Still Outscores Bouwmeester

While he was with Toronto, I was always concerned that Ian White's season wouldn't be as good as his previous one, but he kept improving. He came up with a career-high 38 points last year, and if Calgary gives him the ice time and opportunities, White could continue to prove that he put up the points. 

 

6) The Ales Kotalik Experiment Doesn't Pan Out

In 26 games last year, Kotalik was a disappointment for Calgary with just five points. Granted those were better than his numbers with the Rangers (not really, although his plus-one was better than the minus-18) but he's a streaky 20-goal scorer that needs the ice time to perform. With Bourque, Iginla, Curtis Glencross, Alex Tanguay, Nik Hagman, and David Moss (at least) ahead of him, Kotalik won't be long for the ice of the Saddledome. 

 

7) Calgary Wins 20 One-Goal Games

Calgary had won 43 one-goal games over the past two seasons heading into last year, then won only 18. We say only, because there were just three playoff teams (Boston, Vancouver, and Philadelphia) to win fewer than 20 one-goal games and make the playoffs. Calgary missed the playoffs. In short they figure out how to win the close one again. 

 

8) The Calgary Flames Score in a Shootout at Home (Three Times)

Surprising yet depressing stat if you're a fan of the Calgary Flames: They have never had three players score a shootout goal at home in the same season. Olli Jokinen was the only player to score one last year, so I guess it's a good thing they re-signed him. Iginla, Todd Bertuzzi, Kristian Huselius, and Alex Tanguay are the others who have scored shootout goals at home for the Flames since 2005-06. I have no idea if this is a trend around the league; it's just weird. 

 

9. Robyn Regehr Finishes in the Top-Three for Norris Voting

I don't think Regehr is "underrated" or "overlooked" anymore because every time someone talks about him being one of those things, more and more people take notice. Regehr has a huge season though that has him in the running for end-of-the-year hardware. 

 

10. Calgary Figures Out a Way To Score in the Third Period (and Overtime)

Calgary went from the seventh-highest scoring team in those periods in 2008-09 to the lowest scoring team in 2009-10. With a hunger to get back to the playoffs, Calgary scratches and claws in the late stages of their games to give them the opportunity to play springtime hockey.

 

Bonus

Montreal moves to 2-0 in Heritage Classics with three early goals. The temperature will be much more livable than it was in Edmonton, but with more snow.

 

The Stretch

Calgary makes a trade for Brandon Prust. Again. Third time's the charm right?

Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report and also writes for Hockey54.com—The Face of the Game! If you want to get in contact with Bryan, you can  e-mail him at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.

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